The Eagles' coordinators spoke to reporters today in their first news conferences since the draft, two days into the first minicamp of 2010. It was the best chance reporters have had to speak at length with offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg in the nearly four weeks since Donovan McNabb was traded and Kevin Kolb took over the Birds' offense.
"I've done it before, from Steve (Young, in San Francisco), to Jeff (Garcia)," Mornhinweg said. "They're all different, both on and off the field ... as a coach, you're a teacher. You teach, you correct.
"We will be different. Donovan was such a great player, and he had many, many strengths, has many, many strengths. However, they're different from Kevin's ... You lean toward a player's strengths.
"Donovan, there's no question he had one of the stronger arms, maybe of all time. There's no question he could make the brilliant play. Kolb is very, very consistent. He handles (being given) two or three different play selections very, very well. Typically, very accurate. He's athletic, but he doesn't have the athleticism that Donovan has."
Mornhinweg said Kolb "handles things pretty natural. I think the guys rally around him a little bit, because of his personality ... There is great responsibility on this quarterback. I thinke he will handle that beautifully."
Mornhinweg singled out fullback Leonard Weaver, wideout Jeremy Maclin, running back LeSean McCoy and Kolb for praise. He noted that fifth-round rookie wideout Riley Cooper (6-3, 222) is "very big, he's got excellent hands, very strong, it looks like."
McCoy said he dropped from a less-defined 217 to a more muscled 211 this offseason; he seemed to wear down late in his rookie year. Mornhinweg hailed the way McCoy is helping out other running backs in this minicamp, though he is only in his second year in the offense.
Defensive coordinator Sean McDermott was asked about the possibility of playing more 3-4 this season, given all the speed and athleticism the Eagles seem to have added. He didn't say he would or wouldn't. He said this first minicamp is about teaching the base defense to the new guys, and the top priority, with so many new faces, is getting everyone comfortable in that. McDermott noted that more than half of the defensive players in this camp have never played a snap for the Eagles.
McDermott clearly had some input on the acquisition of new strarting weakside linebacker Ernie Sims from Detroit.
"Ernie's been a welcome addition," McDermott said. "He can fly. There's a shark in the water out there right now, and that's Ernie Sims."
McDermott was asked about the perception that some veteran players were slow to accept him last season, that those players are gone now, and that the many personnel changes have made this more "his" unit than it was in 2009.
"I love the players that we have here. They battled their butts off at the end of last year, and moving forward into the offseason, the work ethic of the players ... in the offseason program has been tremendous," McDermott said.
McDermott said in this minicamp "It's a different feel to the defense out there. You mentioned some of the different characteristics of those players. The speed, No. 1. You have to be able to run in this league ... I give the credit to coach (Andy) Reid and (general manager) Howie Roseman and the upper management for recognizing the need to invest in the defense."
Special teams coordinator Bobby April said Ellis Hobbs and Quintin Demps are his kickoff returners right now. "He's really good," April said of Hobbs. Obviously, the fact that Hobbs is coming off a serious neck injury (and might be a starting corner) could affect whether he retains that kickoff spot, or the team decides not to risk putting him back there.
April touted Sav Rocca's season but left no doubt that Durant Brooks and Ken Parrish are here to provide serious competition. Apparently, one thought is that Parrish might also be able to relieve David Akers of kickoff duty.